A Rose By Any Other Name……

Positive, adj.: Mistaken at the top of one’s voice or with caps lock activated.

Coupons. The bane of my shopping experience.  The only thing worse than being in a checkout line behind someone with gobs of coupons is being in line behind someone with gobs of coupons, printed off the internet, and meticulously catalogued and indexed in a tupperware container. It’s gotten so bad, that I now treat coupon offering websites as malware and may, on occasion, secretly delete them from customer machines under the guise of virus removal. But, now, along comes Vouchercloud, and I may have to adjust my attitude.

Vouchercloud.net is a Britain based website offering discounted “vouchers”, which is just a fancy word for coupons, for many large retailers. For reasons totally unclear to me, they recently conducted a survey of over 2300 Americans to see how much they knew of some basic tech terminology. And the results, which have been blogged, reblogged, and blogged yet again here, have provided a wee bit of validation for one of my seemingly many pet peeves when speaking with customers. Most people are clueless about the very technology their lives revolve around. Here’s your proof:


  • Eleven percent thought that HTML was a sexually transmitted disease, not code used to write websites
  • More than three-quarters (77 percent) didn’t know what SEO (search engine optimization) means
  • Blu-Ray was a marine animal to 18 percent of those surveyed
  • More than a quarter of them (27 percent) identified a gigabyte as a South American insect
  • Fifteen percent thought software was comfortable clothing
  • A motherboard was the deck of a cruise ship to 42 percent of people
  • Twelve percent identified USB as a European Country. Like the EU, you know?
  • What’s an MP3? To 23 percent of people, it’s one of those cute Star Wars robots.
  • Finally, two percent said that tablet computers were specialized devices that tell you when to take your medicine.

facepalmx2Startling results. But, and I know you’ll find this hard to believe, I feel the need to defend some of these respondents.  Unless you’re into web design, or coding, I wouldn’t expect you to know what HTML is and can understand its’ confusion with one of those pesky, initialized, sexually transmitted diseases. Some of the other questions were a bit sketchy also. Rather than ask someone who apparently spends considerable time on a couponing site about Search Engine Optimization, I’d prefer to quiz them on much simpler things. For example:

What is this?
If you answered a computer or a tower, you’d be correct. But…..what I more often hear it referred to is “my modem”, “my hard drive”, “my CPU”, “the thing under my desk with all the wires”, or “the thing with the slide out cup holder”.
Honestly, I don’t care if you don’t know what a gigabyte is. I’m much more interested in your ability to know the difference between your desktop background and screensaver, to know what a browser is and which one you use as your default, to know (and remember) your log in or email password, to be able to find the space bar on your keyboard, and to have the ability to reset your browser homepage after it’s been corrupted and changed by some crappy coupon site.
Accordingly, I’ll be creating my own survey. Kindly leave your email address, social security number and mother’s maiden name in the comments section of this blog.
I’ll be in touch.


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